From: JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
Inspector of General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has justified the arrest of 20 Yoruba suspects allegedly behind the March 8 crisis that led to the clash between Yoruba and Hausa traders in the Sabo area of Ile-Ife in Osun State.
The crisis left about 40 people dead, many injured and several properties destroyed.
The Police had paraded 20 indigenes of Ile-Ife in Abuja, attracting condemnation pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere.
The IGP, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House to brief him on efforts by the police to curtail insecurity in the country, said crime does not recognise ethnicity.
Asked to react to allegation that his men arrested only one section of the crisis he said, “You know we are police officers, crime has no tribe. If you are a criminal you are a criminal crime has no face, we don’t look at crime in the identity of where you are coming from. As far as you are a criminal and the police find you wanting we apply the law.”
When told that it appears the police has no strategy for fighting crimes but only react when crisis must have happened, he replied, “You know some of these crisis, we have to look at the origin of these crisis and the immediate cause for you to make a proper classification of these crimes. If you follow some of these crimes, they are just crimes that happened without any warning. If you look at that Ife crisis, if you see how it started, it’s just a disagreement between two people selling food along the road.
So, you have to look at the dynamics of the country itself, obviously when you have such situation we have to react to it. We had to move in to ensure we provide some security to the people.”
Idris who said he briefed the president on the deployment strategies to some of the flash points all over the country, especially Benue, Kaduna and Ile-Ife said the police was working round the clock to restore peace to the affected areas.
Speaking on Benue specifically, the police boss said, “We deployed mobile police unit on 16th of this month to the recent incident that happened at Zaki Biam. There are allegations on one Gana, he has been on the police wanted list for a while now, I decided to deploy some special units to fish him out by all means. We will definitely going to get him.”
Asked to clarify if the attackers were herdsmen, Idris said, ”No I don’t think its Fulani herdsmen, it was an activity of a criminal who is using some of his criminal gangs in the state to harass people, that I have assured the governor when I met with him few days ago.”
The Police boss also spoke about insecurity situation in Kogi State, “I think we are all in this country, the crisis in Kogi axis is not kidnapping, its a case of militants wanting to disrupt the peace in that state and we are out to get them.”
Asked if the president gave specific directives, he replied, “Obviously there should be a specific directive to ensure that all of us use all the facilities at our disposal to make sure that some of these incidents we are talking about are brought under control as soon as possible. I gave the President my assurance that we are going to do that. Like I said earlier we have deplored a special squad to Benue and we are surely going to get that Gana within a short time.”